ROYAL FLYING CORPS COMMUNIQUE. – No 123. 23 Jan 1918

ROYAL FLYING CORPS COMMUNIQUE. – No 123.

During the period under review, 15th to 21st January (inclusive), we have claimed officially nine E.A. brought down and four driven down out of control. Six of our machines are missing.
Approximately 11 tons of bombs were dropped and 34,112 rounds fired at ground targets.
The weather generally throughout the week was adverse to flying.

January 15th. – Heavy rain during the day prevented any flying, except two test and practice flights taking place.
41st Wing. – On the 14th one machine of No 55 Squadron attempted photography, but was forced to return owing to heavy banks of clouds and thick mist. No plates were exposed.
On the night 14th/15th instant, 11 machines of No 100 Squadron left to bomb the steel works at Diedenhofen (Thionville) in Germany. Six 230-lb, 29 25-lb. and two phosphorus bombs were dropped on the objective with good results; two 112-lb. and 12 25-lb. bombs were dropped on the railway junction two miles south-east of Metz, and one 230-lb., two 25-lb. and one phosphorus bombs were dropped on Ebingen Railway Junction, while 1,680 rounds were fired at searchlights and trains in the railway stations. Anti-aircraft fire was heavy, but very inaccurate, and the searchlight barrages were considerable. All machines returned.

January 16th. – High wind and rain all day made flying practically impossible.
2nd-Lieut McLeod and Lieut Hammond, No 2 Squadron (1st Brigade), attempted an artillery patrol. They fired 225 rounds at an anti-aircraft gun and a group of men near La Bassee, and dropped two 20-lb. bombs on La Bassee.
A machine of the 2nd Brigade fired 300 rounds at a party of the enemy.

January 17th. – Low clouds, rain and mist made operations impossible.
41st Wing. – On the night of the 16th/17th, six machines of No 100 Squadron left the ground to attack the railway and factory at Diedhofen. Owing to a thick mist, four machines were forced to return; the remaining two crossed the lines. The weather conditions rapidly deteriorated. One machine dropped one 230-lb. and two 25-lb. bombs on the large railway sidings at Bernsdorf; the other machine dropped one 230-lb. and one 25-lb. bombs on lights at Orny and one 25-lb bomb on a searchlight near Vigny. All results were obscured.

January 18th. – In spite of mist and rain-storms, a certain amount of flying was done. A total number of 13 successful reconnaissances were carried out – nine by the 5th Brigade. Forty-two hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction, and one neutralized: three gun-pits were destroyed, 22 damaged, 35 explosions and 16 fires caused. Fifty-five zone calls were sent down. Out of the total of batteries successfully engaged for destruction 22 were by the 2nd Brigade.
Sixty-nine photographs were taken, 115 bombs dropped and 7,791 rounds fired as follows:-
1st Brigade. – Corps Wing dropped 48 25-lb. bombs; 10th Wing fired 1,370 rounds; No 4a Squadron fired 100 rounds, and No 43 Squadron fired 400 rounds into a procession where many casualties were caused.
2nd Brigade. – Took 40 photographs, dropped 29 25-lb. bombs and fired 1,910 rounds.
3rd Brigade. Took 11 photographs, dropped 26 25-lb. bombs and fired 1,890 rounds.
5th Brigade. Eighteen photographs were taken; No 8 Squadron dropped four 25-lb. bombs and fired 721 rounds; No 35 Squadron dropped eight 25-lb. bombs and fired 900 rounds, and No 52 Squadron fired 500 rounds.
Enemy Aircraft. 2nd-Lieut A.E. Wylie, No 65 Squadron, shot down one E.A. near Westroosebeke.
Major R. Maxwell, No 54 Squadron, fired a burst at 70 yards at an enemy scout, which turned over, the right bottom wing came partly away and the E.A. went down in a steep spiral.
2nd-Lieut G. Clapham, of the same Squadron, attacked an Albatross Scout and fired a burst at point blank range. The E.A. went down in flames.
One E.A. was brought down near Lens by infantry.
Miscellaneous. – Capt. J. Medcalf, No 43 Squadron, whilst on patrol, lost his way in the clouds, and coming down found himself in the vicinity of Douai. He saw a party of infantry 500 strong marching through a village, and fired at them from a low altitude. They all scattered and left several casualties on the road. Capt Medcalf reports that he glided down to 500 feet and intended to land on an aerodrome, because he saw there an R.E.8 and two A.W.’s standing on the ground. Hostile machine-gun fire was opened on him. He noticed that the R.E. 8 and the A.W.’s were camouflaged blue and green and had no national markings of any kind.
Lieut McCall and Lieut Farrington, No 13 Squadron, ranged the 78th Siege Battery on hostile batteries. Seventy-nine observations were given and two direct hits were obtained on gun-pits, in one case a large explosion being caused.
Capt. Solomon and Lieut Morgan, No 15 Squadron, gave 53 observations for the 48th Siege Battery on hostile batteries, and three gun-pits were badly damaged and one set on fire.

January 19th. – The weather was fine all day and the sky was covered with high clouds. The visibility was good.
Nineteen reconnaissances were carried out; 10 of these were by machines of the 5th Brigade, including eight by No 52 Squadron.
Ninety hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction and six were neutralized; 16 gun-pits were destroyed, 44 damaged, 52 explosions and 26 fires caused. One hundred and forty-seven zone calls were sent down.
Eight hundred and seventy photographs were taken, 317 bombs dropped and 14,458 rounds fired at ground targets as follows:-
1st Brigade. – 187 photographs. 1st Wing dropped 69 25-lb. bombs and fired 380 rounds, and 10th Wing fired 2,450 rounds.
2nd Brigade. – 263 photographs. 2nd Wing dropped 61 25-lb. bombs; No 57 Squadron dropped 68 25-lb. bombs on Heule Ammunition Dump, and 3rd Squadron A.F.C. fired 2,400 rounds. 2,110 rounds were fired by other Squadrons.
3rd Brigade. – 221 photographs were taken, 73 25-lb. bombs dropped and 2,826 rounds fired.
5th Brigade. – 195 photographs. No 8 Squadron dropped 22 25-lb. bombs and fired 1,652 rounds; No 35 Squadron dropped 24 25-lb. bombs and fired 1,140 rounds, and No 52 Squadron fired 1,500 rounds.
Enemy Aircraft. – Enemy aircraft were active, especially in the neighbourhood of Lens. Capt. J.L. Trollope, No 43 Squadron, while on offensive patrol over Vitry, shot down one D.F.W., which was seen to crash.
Lieut. G. McElroy, No 40 Squadron, shot down out of control an Albatross Scout, and 2nd-Lieut W. Harrison, of the same Squadron, shot down a D.F.W. out of control.
Flight Commander Price, Naval Squadron No 8, observed three Albatross Scouts near Vitry. He dived and attacked one of these and fired 300 rounds. The E.A. fell over sideways and fell vertically.
In a general engagement between Naval Squadron No 8 and 14 Albatross Scouts, Flight Sub-Lieut Johnstone attacked one E.A. and followed it down to 8,000 feet, firing all the while. The E.A. was observed to fall completely out of control. Flight Sub-Lieut Dennett fired a good burst at another E.A. at very close range, and it went down completely out of control. Flight Lieut. Jordan fired a burst of 50 rounds into an E.A. which turned on its side and spun. Flight Sub-Lieuts Dennett and Johnstone followed this machine down, each firing 250 rounds, and the E.A. went down out of control.
2nd-Lieut. F. Hobson, No 70 Squadron, dived at an E.A. two-seater, which went down out of control and then burst into flames. 2nd-Lieut. G. Howsam, of the same squadron, attacked an enemy two-seater which had been pointed out to him by anti-aircraft fire. He fired a burst and the E.A. went down out of control.
2nd-Lieut. Jones and Lieut Phelps, No 20 Squadron, dived at an Albatross Scout, and after firing 50 rounds brought it down out of control.
Capt. Harrison and Lieut. Noel, No 20 Squadron, saw four E.A. and dived on one and fired 20 rounds after which the E.A. went down out of control.
Sergt E. Clayton and 2nd-Lieut. L. Sloot, No 57 Squadron, when returning from a bomb raid were attacked over Roulers by six Albatross Scouts. The observer fired 200 rounds, and one E.A. went down in a vertical dive for 8,000 feet.
Capt. R. Hilton and Lieut A. Clayton, No 9 Squadron, were attacked by six E.A. two of which dived on the R.E.8. the observer opened fire at 100 yards and the leading E.A. was seen to loose a wing and crash; the other E.A. was driven off after 150 rounds were fired.
A patrol of four machines of No 54 Squadron engaged seven Albatross Scouts, and Capt. K. Shelton dived on two of them and followed them down to 500 feet. One of these fell out of control and was later seen to be crashed on the ground by two other pilots of the same patrol.

January 20th. – Although the sky was covered with clouds, the visibility was good, and a lot of artillery work was carried out.
Seventeen reconnaissances were carried out, 12 of which were by machines of the 5th Brigade.
Seventy-two hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction and 12 neutralized with aeroplane observation; five gun-pits were destroyed, 30 damaged, 18 explosions and 18 fires caused. One hundred and fifty-four zone calls were sent down.
Three hundred and twenty-three photographs were taken, 222 bombs dropped and 10,572 rounds fired at ground targets as follows:-
1st Brigade. –. Fifty-six photographs. 1st Wing dropped 55 25-lb. bombs and fired 1,150 rounds, and 10th Wing fired 2,050 rounds.
2nd Brigade. – Nine photographs were taken, 36 25-lb. bombs dropped and 1,040 rounds fired.
3rd Brigade. – Sixty photographs were taken, 76 25-lb. bombs dropped and 2,682 rounds fired.
5th Brigade. – One hundred and ninety-eight photographs. 15th Wing dropped 55 25-lb. bombs, No 8 Squadron fired 830 rounds, No 35 Squadron 250 rounds, No 52 Squadron 870 rounds and No 84 Squadron 700 rounds.
Enemy aircraft activity was slight all day.
Capt. J.B. McCudden, No 56 Squadron, brought down one enemy machine.
On the 19th, eight targets were registered by balloons of the 2nd Brigade, four of the targets being hostile batteries.

January 21st. – Low clouds and rain prevented much flying being done.
Six reconnaissances were carried out, one by 2nd Brigade, two by the 3rd Brigade, and three by the 5th Brigade.
Twenty-two hostile batteries were successfully engaged for destruction with aeroplane observation and five neutralized; 15 gun-pits were damaged, 26 explosions and seven fires caused. Seventy-five zone calls sent down.
One hundred and forty bombs were dropped and 9.086 rounds fired at ground targets as follows:-
1st Brigade. – 43 25-lb bombs were dropped;1st Wing fired 3,600 rounds, and No 4a Squadron 100 rounds.
2nd Brigade. – 2nd Wing dropped 39 25-lb. bombs; 2,455 rounds were fired.
3rd Brigade. – Dropped 29 25-lb. bombs and fired 1,150 rounds.
5th Brigade. – No 8 Squadron dropped 16 25-lb bombs and fired 591 rounds; No 35 Squadron dropped four 25-lb. bombs and fired 500 rounds; No 48 Squadron dropped nine 25-lb. bombs; No 52 Squadron fired 500 rounds and No 54 Squadron 100 rounds.
Enemy aircraft activity was slight all day, a few indecisive combats taking place.
2nd-Lieut Churchman and Lieut Lewis, No 10 Squadron, obtained many O.K.s on a hostile battery. During this shoot, a hostile battery was seen firing and a switch was given on to it and the hostile battery was silenced.
Lieut Douglas and Lieut Senior, No 15 Squadron, made many observations and three O.K.s were obtained. Direct hits were obtained on two pits and the whole position badly damaged. During the same flight, seven active hostile batteries were reported by zone calls.
41st Wing. – On the night of the 21st/22nd, 17 machines of No 100 Squadron started to bomb the steel works at Thionville and Bernsdorf railway sidings. Twelve machines crossed the line and dropped bombs as follows:-
Four 230-lb., 12 25-lb. and one phosphorus bombs on Thionville; five 230-lb., 16 25-lb., and two phosphorus bombs on Bernsdorf, and two 230-lb., and eight 25-lb. bombs on various targets. 1,520 rounds were fired at searchlights, trains and factory lights.
One machine of Naval Squadron No 16 dropped 12 112-lb. bombs on the railway junction at Arnaville, south of Metz.

Headquarters, R.F.C.,
23rd January, 1918
L.A.K. BUTT, Captain,
Staff Officer.

Printing Section, Depot F.S.C. R.E. G.H.Q. 655x/3,000/1-18

SPIES, SPYING AND RESISTANCE

SPIES, SPYING AND RESISTANCE
WOMEN OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
Andrée Borrel was a French heroine of the Second World War who served in the French Resistance and Britain’s SOE. Having joined the Red Cross at the beginning of the Second World War she enrolled in a crash course in nursing. She was qualified to serve as a nurse in the Association des Dames Francais on the 20th January 1940. After fifteen days working at Hospital Complimétaire at Nimes in February 1940 she was rejected as she was not 21 until July 1940 and nurses were not allowed to work in hospitals until they were 21. This decree was revoked soon after and she was sent to the Hospital de Beaucaire. When the hospital was closed she and one of her co-workers, Lieutenant Maurice Dufour, were sent to Hospital Complimétaire. The hospital was closed at the end of July 1940. She resigned from the military based hospitals system and as Dufour was involved in the underground organisation she went to work with him. In the beginning of August 1944 Andrée and Dufour established a villa which was a safe house on the Mediterranean coast near the Spanish border. This formed part of an escape network whereby shot down British airmen and others avoided capture through German controlled France. Finding this venue too small they acquired larger premises in October 1941 and by the end of December 1941 the escape network had been compromised and closed down. Andrée and Dufour escaped to Britain through the Pyrenees to Spain and Portugal and flew into England in early 1942. Andrée was approached by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and joined in May 1942. After training she was sent to France as a field agent. She was captured by the Gestapo and executed on the 6th July 1944 aged 24 years old.
Charlotte Delbo was a French writer who sent to Auschwitz for her activities as a member of the French resistance. She was born near Paris on the 10th August 1913, and in her youth she became involved in theatre and politics and joined the French Young Communist Women’s League in 1932. She met and married George Dudach two years later. In the late 1930s she was working in Buenos Aires for theatrical producer Louis Jouvet and when Nazi-Germany invaded and occupied France in 1940 she returned home. Her husband had been a courier in Paris for the resistance movement and the couple spent the winter of 1940 printing and disturbing anti-Nazi Germany leaflets. They became part of a group who took an active role in publishing the underground journal Lettres Francaises. They were arrested in March 1942 by police who had followed a courier to their apartment. George Dudach was executed in May 1942 and Charlotte was held in transit camps near Paris until January 1943. She was put on a train to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp along with 229 Frenchwomen who had been imprisoned for their resistance activities. They entered the gates of Auschwitz by singing the “La Marsellaise”. Right from the beginning the women worked as a team, one example being when standing for hours in freezing conditions they would huddle together and rotate their positions every 15 minutes so that no one person was on the outside for too long. Of the 240 women who entered Auschwitz only 49 survived. One of whom was Charlotte who later wrote about her experience in Auschwitz. Charlotte never remarried and died in 1985 of lung cancer.
Christine Granville OBE, whose real name was Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek, was born in Poland in May 1908. Christine was the daughter of an impoverished Count and Jewish mother who grew up on a country estate. She enjoyed the active sporting outdoor life of a tomboy until the 1920s when the family moved to Warsaw caused by financial problems. In April 1930 she married a young business man but the marriage ended in divorce. Christine met her second husband at a ski resort in Poland and after they married in 1938 they set off for Kenya in Africa. Her new husband was a globetrotter and diplomat who had been offered a post of consul in Kenya, but before they actually arrived the Second World War began. Upon arrival at Cape Town they boarded another ship and headed for England. She volunteered to help the British secret services by proposing an occupied-Polish/Hungarian escape route for Polish volunteers to fight in the west together with any other available information. She was then recruited into Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and given instructions to pass on any information to SOE. In February 1940 she made her first trip over the border and by early 1941 her contact in the resistance group had been infiltrated and she was ordered to leave for Belgrade. The British provided her a new passport naming her as Christine Granville enabling her to escape. The Polish resistance distrusted her because of the circumstances of her escape from the Gestapo. She transferred to Cairo but prevented from getting involved in any of SOE’s further major missions. She spent nearly three years taking part in second-rate missions until 1943 when she was officially introduced into SOE. As she had experience operating in enemy territory she only needed a refresher course before being dropped into Southern France in July 1944.
Anita Lasker-Wallfisch is a surviving member ‘Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz and was born on the 25th July 1925 to a Jewish family from Breslau in Germany. Her father was a lawyer, her mother a violinist and Anita was an accomplished cello player. Her father had fought for Germany in the Great War and gained an Iron Cross therefore he received some degree of immunity from Nazi persecution. They were aware of the Jewish persecution and her eldest sister Marianne fled to England in 1941. In 1942 her parents were taken away by the Nazis and Anita never saw them again. Anita and her other sister Renate were not deported, and their work in a paper factory enabled them to start forging papers enabling the French forced labourers to cross back into France. She is reported to have said that she would give the Germans a reason to kill her rather than being killed for just being Jewish. In September 1942, whilst attempting to escape Germany, they were arrested by the Gestapo for forgery at Breslau station. Anita and Renata were sent to Auschwitz in December 1943 and Anita was selected to play the cello in the ’Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz’. The orchestra played marches for the slave labourers as the left and returned to the camp after each day’s work. They also gave concerts to the S.S. In October 1944 the Russian Red Army was approaching Auschwitz and the inmates were evacuated to Bergen-Belsen. At the end of the war they were liberated by the British Army and Renata was employed as an interpreter as she could speak English. Anita was transferred to a ‘displaced person’s camp’. In 1946 the sisters moved to Britain where Anita married Peter Wallfisch and they had two children. She joined the English Chamber Orchestra (ECO) and toured internationally both as a member of the orchestra and solo artist. She returned with the ECO on tour to Germany in 1994 and has been back since to give talks about her experiences in the camps.
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WOMEN OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR

NURSES AND NURSING IN THE EUROPEAN THEATRE
WOMEN OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
They didn’t fire a shot or fight on the front line, but nurses of all the Allied nations contributed to defeating the Germans and Japanese by their behind-the-scene efforts. Many British aristocratic young women wanted to do their bit by volunteering for nursing. Nurse Ann Reid was so cossetted that when she was asked to sweep the floor in the hospital, she didn’t know how to do it and had to be shown. Girls from grander backgrounds were often given the most disagreeable jobs. A senior nurse told Penny Woosnam, on her first day on the ward to bandage up a soldiers private parts where glass had been embedded. These young ladies survived their ordeals. But many of the privileged young ladies found themselves in the thick of the horrors of war. Sheila Parish drove an ambulance during the evacuation of Dunkirk. During the blitz Nurse Virginia Forbes Adam recalled times when the ambulance bells never stopped ringing. However, most of these privileged young ladies survived the war.
When the Second World War began, American heiress Mary Borden returned to nursing, running a mobile ambulance unit in France, North Africa and the Middle East. During the Great War, Mary had financed a field hospital for the French soldiers with herself serving as a nurse. She was a prolific writer who wrote novels and poetry based on her experiences as a war nurse during the Great War. Her work also included many sketches and short stories. Following the breakup of her first marriage in 1918, she married General Edward Louis Speers with her ex-husband taking custody of her three children. After the Great War Mary and Speers were living in Britain and when the Second World War began she was hoping to provide a similar facility as before. She received additional funding from the British War Relief Society in New York whilst setting up the facility. With funds also donated by Sir Robert Hadfield, she set up the Hadfield-Speers Ambulance Unit which was based in Lorraine. The unit was forced to retreat from France after the German Blitzkrieg in June 1940 and the unit evacuated France. In May 1941, the Hadfield-Speers Ambulance Unit was attached to the Free French in the Middle East, before accompanying their forces across North Africa, Italy and France. When the Second World War ended Mary continued her writing, of which she was a life-long contributor, until just before her death. She died on the 2nd December 1968 with her husband by her side.
Where most privileged European nurses survived the war three American nurses were not so fortunate. Lt. Lucille Hendricks, Ensign Helen Mary Ruehler and Ensign Ruby Toquarm worked at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Norco, California. Ensigns are junior officers in the U.S. navy. Lucille had been assigned chief nurse at Norco in December 1941 and helped to set up the hospital and establish a ground breaking medical treatment centre. She was a pioneer in the nursing field, and often travelled to other naval hospitals to teach new techniques in plastic surgery, spinal cord operations and brain injury treatment to medical personnel. In March 1944 Lucille was assigned head nurse at the naval base in Dutch Harbour, Alaska. The three handpicked nurses for this post were killed instantly, on 23rd April 1944, when their plane crashed into a mountain as they were flying to the new hospital. The nurse’s names have been engraved on the Norco City’s George Ingalls Veteran Memorial Plaque.
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The Second World War January 1940

THE SECOND WORLD WAR January 1940

The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union (USSR) and Finland with a Soviet invasion beginning on the 30th November 1939. The Soviet offensive was halted on the 2nd January 1940 with the Finnish army achieving several victories and destroying many Soviet tanks. One whole Soviet division was eliminated and a large number of military vehicles were captured following the Finnish victory at Soumussalmi on the 7th January 1940. On the same day General Semyon Timoshenko took command of the Soviet armies in Finland from the previous disastrous commander, Kliment Voroshilov. By the 17th January 1940 the Soviets had been driven back but retaliated with heavy air attacks.
On the 7th January 1940, basic foodstuff rationing was introduced in the U.K. in response to German attacks on shipping bound for Britain. As the U.K. imported more than 50% of the food consumed, the Ministry of Food instituted a system of rationing.
An event occurred in Belgium on the 10th January 1940 that was known as the Mechelen Incident. A German officer was carrying the plans for Fall Geib (Case Yellow) when the aircraft being flown crash landed. Fall Geib were the plans for the German attack on the Low Countries which caused an immediate crisis in the countries involved. Once the dates mentioned in the plans had passed the crisis abated. However, documents captured on the 16th January 1940 revealed Hitler’s plans for the invasion of Scandinavia and a postponement of the invasion of France and the Low Countries. The revised plans were for the spring when the weather was more favourable.
HMS Exmouth was an E-class destroyer acting as patrol and escort vessel in the North Sea. From her base in Rosyth, Exmouth was escorting merchant ship Cyprian Prince, north of Scotland on the 20th January 1940 when she was spotted by German U-boat U22. She was torpedoed at 05.35 am and sank with the loss of all hands The Cyprian Prince sailed away without picking up seamen left in the water in order to get clear of the U-boat.
West of Portugal at 04.15 hours on the 21st January 1940 the unescorted Greek steam merchant ship Ekatontarchos Dracoulis was hit by torpedo fired from German U-boat U-44. The U-boat had chased the Greek vessel since 20.05 hours the previous day. The crew had abandoned ship and U-44 left the area before the vessel sank.
Reinhard Heydrich, a high ranking German Nazi official, was appointed by Hermann Göring on the 24th January 1940 to oversee the Jewish question. He was one of the main architects of the Final Solution. Heydrich was answerable to Hitler, Göring and Himmler only with everything connected to the deportation, imprisonment and extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust.
On the 27th January 1940, Germany finalised their plans for the invasion of Denmark and Norway which was carried out on the 9th April 1940.
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